Now, I am not a lawyer and I am not infallible. But lets consider the contest by what we know from the Tinker decision.
Also, different ways of handling the contest may result in the contest being considered constitutionally protected or not.
However, lets ask some questions. For an individual boy in the school, does he have the right to take and/or receive and/or possess photos of others in the school, at either school events, going to or from class or which are taken off of school property? Yes he does in 99.9% of cases.
Does such a person have the right to make an ordered collection of photos? Yes. Does he have the right to rate certain photos as being more beautiful, interesting, flirty or hot than others? Yes. Does he have the right to believe that some of the photos in fact reflect the girls themselves being hot or beautiful? Yes. Does he have the right to share such a collection of photos with a friend (or several friends) who consents to view them and to rate them also? Yes.
Does this group of friends collectively have the right to tabulate their results in such a way that their are brackets and there is a final winner who is considered most hot? Yes. If not, why not, given that any individual can do so?
Do they have a right to congratulate a winning contestant by letting her know that she is esteemed, appreciated and considered hot? Probably!
Does someone have the right to tell girl abc that various other people consider cheerleader xyz to be hotter than girl abc? Well, I am not saying it is a great idea, but girl abc probably already knows . . . and if she wants to know, she can probably figure it out . . . though if she does not want to know, we might presume that she has the right to not be bothered with that information–at least, not by you or some other contestant photo rater.
So, to me, if I were a judge and were ruling, I might be inclined to say that a group of boys have the right to participate in their contest as they wish, but that each individual girl has the right to be informed or not informed, as she wishes, about her status in the contest. The question is, If there is a contest, and if some girls choose to not be informed, do we simply have the raters of photos pledged to secrecy about the status of some girls? If so, and perhaps with other solutions, I believe the contest would be constitutionally protected.
So, where does the harm arise? How is the harm related to the contest? The harm is not in the contest itself, speaking constitutionally, but it is in unknown persons unpredictably telling certain girls that their photos are in the contest and that certain other girls are considered more attractive than hers. Even that is not clearly a constitutionally recognized harm at this point sufficient to shut down a contest. At least, so far as court decisions, I don’t think that harm is regarded as a sufficient harm to shut down the contest . . . especially since anyone could be saying various things, true or false, about an alleged contest.
Maybe it will be considered a constitutionally recognized form of harm or bullying, but it is, so far as I know, not yet clear. But even if it were, having the contest and telling a girl who has a photo in it that her photo has lost to some other girl’s photo are two different things.
So, I think that the school in fact cannot not shut down the contest constitutionally, but at best, can only regulate possible speech arising from it or related to it. If the school wishes to say that “you”–or any of several boys who may or may have visited a webpage with the contest information on it–can’t tell certain girls that they have “lost” in a hot photo contest to certain other girls, that is sure different from saying you can’t have the contest itself.
Certainly no winner of the contest has complained that she feels badly that she is considered attractive. At least, so far as we know.